water aerobics arms

5 water aerobics exercises to tone and strengthen arms

Do you want to tone your arms and strengthen your upper body? Before you head to the weight room at the local fitness center or build out a home gym, you might be surprised to discover that all you need to do is add water. Aquatic exercises, from bicep curls to rowing, can help tone your arms. 

Water aerobics is often recommended to people when they need a low-impact exercise option. The buoyancy of the water reduces the stress on the joints and allows people to move more freely. However, water also has natural resistance, acting like the weight machines in the gym. Instead of moving a pin on the weight stack, you change how quickly you move through the water.

Fun fact: Water can have up to 420 times resistance than air. 

The water’s resistance can help you tone and tighten your arms without needing a rack full of weights. Plus, you can take advantage of buoyancy and increase your mobility.  

But can you really get a good arm workout in the water? Your land-based arm workout can be modified for a Michael Phelps swim spa to help you achieve your goals. 

water aerobics arms
You can incorporate water dumbbells into your aqua aerobics routine. Using dumbbells can help you strengthen and tone your arms.

Upper body exercise benefits

A good arm workout program can often feel like vanity. You want to look good in a tank top or feel confident in your favorite outfit. 

However, establishing an upper body exercise routine has benefits beyond achieving definition in your arms.

Whether it’s on land or in a swim spa, upper body exercise can help improve your posture, coordination, and strength. In addition, the exercises can also strengthen your core, increase muscular endurance, and reduce your overall risk of injury. 

To realize the benefits, you can incorporate water aerobics exercises for your arms two to three days a week. You can start with a 10- to 15-minute workout and gradually increase the duration as your strength and comfort improves. 

water aerobics equipment
Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas come with water fitness equipment including rowing bars and resistance tubing. You can also incorporate other fitness equipment, like a ball and webbed gloves.*

Aqua aerobics equipment

The single best piece of water aerobics equipment is the water itself. For example, you can do a bicep curl in the water just by lifting your hands to your shoulders. 

But aqua aerobics equipment can help you target a certain area of your body (hello, arms); add to the challenge; or make your swim spa workout more fun. 

The best water aerobics equipment for your arms includes resistance tubing and aquatic dumbbells. You can also include an exercise ball and webbed gloves into a water workout that targets your arms. 

Resistance tubing

Bands or tubing might be one of the most underrated pieces of exercise equipment. They are extremely versatile, and you can adjust the length of the bands to increase (or decrease) the challenge. A part of the H2Xercise kit, the bands easily attach to the grab bar of your Michael Phelps swim spa.

Aquatic dumbbells

Pick up a dumbbell intended for water exercise, and it might not seem that special. It’s made of foam and incredibly light. But when you use it in the water, it increases “the drag” and resistance. You can move more slowly to make the exercise more challenging.

Exercise ball

An exercise ball for aqua aerobics is not the same as the one you use for ab crunches. Similar in size to a basketball, you can use an exercise ball in a swim spa for ab and arm exercises.

Gloves with webbing

If it looks like a duck and moves like a duck … it won’t make you a duck. In fact, wearing webbed gloves will make you work harder in the water rather than floating with what looks like no effort. The webbing in the glove increases the amount of water you catch, increasing the resistance. Simple movements become harder with this piece of water exercise gear.


arm workout for pool
Using a ball can help you tone your arms when working out in the water.

5 aquatic exercises to tone your arms

Swimming in a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa can help you build strength and muscular endurance. But using water exercise equipment can help you target and tone your arms.

These five exercises will help you focus on the major muscle groups, as well as the triceps. For all exercises, you will be standing in the swim area of the swim spa. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise and complete up to three sets.

Split stance push pulls

Stand with one leg in front of the other (split stance) and keep your core strong. For the start of this exercise, you will hold a pair of aquatic dumbbells. Push and pull the dumbbells equally. 

Split stance push downs

Stand in a split stance and hold aquatic dumbbells in front of you. Your palms will face down toward the bottom of the swim spa. Push the dumbbells through the water, keeping the elbows straight. Do not rock your body. Repeat.

Kickboard chest press

You might think of using a kickboard with kicking drills. However, you can also incorporate this piece of swim equipment into your arm workout. Hold the kickboard in front of you with both hands. Bring the kickboard toward your chest; pause. Push the kickboard out, extending your arms straight. 

Single arm row

Use your resistance bands for this exercise. Stand in a lunge position and hold the handle with your palm down. Pull one arm back, squeezing shoulder blades together and then return. Repeat.

Tricep extension with band

Attach your resistance band to the grab bar. Standing with your back to the propulsion system, hold the handles at the back of your shoulders. Keep your elbows pointing to the sky and rotate your arms so your biceps are near your ears. Straighten both arms. Return to start.

For more information about exercising in a Michael Phelps swim spa, contact your local Master Spas dealer.

* Not all exercise equipment pictured is included with the swim spa.

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